by Christopher Ruthe

bookgirl joggeuseThe Waikanae library is in need of restoration. The Restore our Book Budget (ROBB) community group asked KCDC if it had attempted to get assistance concerning the restoration of this vital community facility. ROBB says it is to KCDC’s credit it sought Government funding from the new “Shovel ready” fund.

KCDC indicated that unfortunately its application was turned down by the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group, which selects projects to forward to the government for consideration. No reasons were given; KCDC was simply told the Waikanae Library was not included in the 802 projects (New Zealand wide) being put forward for the government to consider.

KCDC said, “We do not have any detail on how our individual projects were assessed.” ROBB is concerned that the refusal of  the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group to give reasons for its decisions handicaps councils as they dont know where the alleged deficiencies are in their applications. In this case, KCDC would no doubt have meticulously endeavoured to meet the guidelines set.

A spokesperson for ROBB says, “ROBB is delighted by KCDC’s initiative. However, it is concerned that this Council and other Councils who have library problems seem to have to face carte blanche dismissal of worthwhile applications.  Libraries are the greatest ‘wellbeing’ resource provided by local bodies for its citizens and ‘wellbeing’ is allegedly this government’s concern. Libraries are vital wellbeing infrastructure. So how can the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group refuse funding for libraries?”

This project was not seen by the PGF as “shovel ready” — no firm concept, architectural drawings and community consultation on it. —Eds